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PAGE5MAZINAIGANSUPPLEMENTSPRINGSUMMER2014MichitwegandearlyOjibwerunnersInthecenturiesbeforetheconstructionofroadsandhighwirecom-municationlinesrunnersservedavitalroleinOjibwecommunitiesacrosstheupperGreatLakesregion.Bothmenandwomenknownasmichitwegweremessengerswhotraveledbetweenpopulationcentersviawoodlandtrailslakesandrivers.Elderspassedtherunningtraditionontotheirchil-drenandgrandchildrenfosteringalegacythatspannedgenerationsinsomefamilies.MichitwegofthedeepnorthernforestsneededmorethanagoodpairofmoccasinsmakizinanaslongdistancetravelsometimesmeanttotingabirchbarkcanoetoutilizethewaterwayswhereOjibwevillageswereusu-allylocated.ToimproveperformanceandfeellightfootedsomenineteethcenturyOjibwewalkedaroundwithnarrowbagscontainingleadshotstrappedtotheiranklespriortorunning.Assnowaccumulatedandwaterroutesfrozeoverinthewinterthemichitwegreliedonsnowshoesforoverlandtravel.Whenapersonfellillwithoutaqualifiedhealeravailablethemichit-wegweresummoned.Attendedbytobaccoasemaaceremonyandprayeranindividualwasaskedtojourneythroughtheexpansivenorthernforesttocontacthealersinothervillages.SuchexcursionsrangedfromafewdozenmilestowelloveronehundredmilesrequiringthemichitwegtopassthroughotherIndiancommunities.RunnerswereheldinhighesteemandreceivedsupportfromOjibwepeoplealongthewayincludingfoodandlodging.OnlongjourneysthatpassedthroughmultipleOjibwevillageslocalmichitweghelpedcarrymessagesdownthetrailcreatinganintertribalrelaysystem.ManyremarkableperformancesoftheIndianrunnersaregenerallyknown.Theycancoveranextraordinaryspaceofgroundbytheirpersistentandsteadytrot.AsthesparsepopulationofthecountryisscatteredoverwidedistancescasesfrequentlyoccurinwhichaswiftrunnercansaveafamilyfromdestructionandthisisasufficientreasonwhytheOjibwehonourhimasgreatlyasaboldhunterorwarrior.JohannGeorgeKohl1855ExcerptedfromOjibweJourneysbyCharlieOttoRasmussenThisrunwasaturningpointinmylife.Ihadvisitedtheboatlandingsasasupporteroftribalspearfishermenandwomenduringthat1989season.Iwitnessedtheirpatiencecourageandcommit-ment.IalsoheardtheracialslursandwitnessedthathideouspleasurethatsomeoftheprotestorstookindenigratingIndianpeople.IwaspresentatthefeastatLacduFlambeauandthenatButternutLakethateveningwhenIndianpeopleandtheirsupporterssupplantedtheprotestorsonthehighground.IrecallthefirsttimeIspokewithErnieSt.Germaineinthesummerof1989.HephonedmeinChicagoanddescribedhisideaofgatheringacoregroupofvocationalathletestorunbetweentheOjibwecommunitiesthathadenduredthatspearfishingseasonandwereinneedofhealingupliftandexpressionsofgratitude.IjoinedthatgroupandranwiththemthatweekinJulybetweentheBearRiverandHonortheEarthpowwows.Spendingtimewitheachotherrunningvisitingprayingcreatedlife-longfriendshipsforsomeofus.Itisnotoftenthatwehaveopportunitiestoparticipateinanundertakingthatintegratessomanyfundamentalhumancapabilitiesanddispositions.TheSolidarityRunhadspiritualathleticpoliticalsocialandculturaldimensions.Boththepipeandthedrumwereused.Thestaffwecarriedappearedfirstinadreamandthenitwascarvedinsumacthengiftedwitheaglefeathersbythecommunitieswerantosoitaccumulatedsymbolicandspiritualweightevenasitcarriedusoverthelandanddownthehighways.TherunwasakindofpilgrimagethatunitedtherunnersandtheOjibwecommunitiesonthelandscapeofthecededterritories.Thesecommunitieswerebeginningtoexperienceaculturalrenaissanceborninpoliticalconflictovertheexerciseofthetreatyrightstohuntfishandgatheronthoselandsandinthosewatersofthatlandscape.Iwouldreturntorunthesamerouteagainin1990withmanyofthesamecorerunners.InspiredbythepeopleImetonthoserunsIwouldproposedis-sertationresearchattheUniversityofChicagoontheconflictovertheexerciseofthesetreatyrightsandliveatLacduFlambeauformuchof1991todothatresearch.TheworkwouldleadtoabookthebookledtoacareerasaprofessorinMadisonwhereIhavetheopportunitytoteachabouttheindigenousnationsofWisconsinassistthemasaconsultantfromtimetotimeandtowriteabouttheireffortsinnation-building.RefectingontheSolidarityRunof1989after25yearsByPishkoLarryNesperCarryingthestaffRedCliffsMarvinDefoeisjoinedbyLacduFlambeausTinkerMildredElminthe1990relay.Individualsandgroupshelpedthecoreteamthroughoutbothrelaysrunningorwalkingwiththeminsomeinstancesandrelievingthemfordistancesespeciallythemilesonornearthereservations.Inadditiontoreliefontheroadcommunitiesprovidedfoodlodgingandjoinedinceremonies.BadRiverAnishinaabegshowsupportandtaketheirturnonthepavement.DougLipharthandsthestaffofftoBillLontzduringthe1989relay.89-90SOLIDARITYRELAY